Catch up on our work so far by reading through our archive of newsletters here. Scotland the Bread is an innovative social business, owned by its members. With collaborators across the UK and beyond, we are part of… Read More
Scotland The Bread is a collaborative project to establish a Scottish flour and bread supply that is healthy, equitable, locally controlled and sustainable. Our idea is simple – grow nutritious wheat and bake it properly close to… Read More
Advice and recipes for getting the best out of our unique wheat varieties Scotland The Bread flour comes from varieties that were once used to make much of the country’s daily wheaten bread. So it’s not true, as some… Read More
Soil To Slice is a participation project that runs alongside the crop research and the locally-controlled production of a grain and flour supply.
In 2015, with support from the A Team Foundation, the Funding Enlightened Agriculture group and more than a hundred people who pledged more than £6,000 to a crowdfunding campaign, Bread Matters started the Soil To Slice citizen science project with the purpose of helping local communities to grow and bake their own healthy bread, from the soil to the slice.
Scotland The Bread provides each group with:
Seed from three of the Scottish heritage wheat varieties in Scotland The Bread’s research project — and support each community group through a year of growing, milling and baking.
Small-scale equipment to sow and then to thresh, clean and mill the home-grown grains.
Training and support for groups to host their own breadmaking session using their home-grown wheat.
Advice at each stage, from sowing to baking, and collates the findings from each of the groups.
In April 2016, the new Bread For Good Community Benefit Society (trading as Scotland The Bread) took over Soil To Slice. In May, the first Soil To Slice community growers gathered to share their experiences of growing heritage wheat, hear an update on Scotland The Bread’s nutrient research and get a little hands-on experience baking with some of the heritage flour. Read our blog post about the event.
Who is involved?
Granton Community Gardeners is a grassroots group of local residents in Edinburgh. They grow food on street corners, encourage gardening and host meals. The urban garden is spread across nine small patches of land. In autumn 2015, Granton sowed Scotland The Bread’s trial wheats (Rouge d’Ecosse, Golden Drop and Hunters) on 35 square metre plots, from which they harvested 42 kg of grain. Community groups in Glasgow (Locavore and the Concrete Garden) grew the same wheats.In 2016 Granton sowed 100 square metres of wheat; both years this was threshed at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh’s Harvest Festival (see below). Read our case study on Granton Community Gardeners’ Soil To Slice experience here. During Spring 2016, the Edible Gardening Project in the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Inverleith Allotments joined the Soil To Slice project. Cyrenians Community Garden at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, the 2000m2 project at Whitmuir Farm and Pilton Community Gardens with North Edinburgh Arts sowed their first crop in autumn 2016.
Harvest and Threshing 2016
All of the community-grown grain was harvested during September 2016 and 2017. Some groups had very small samples, which could be threshed by hand. Three groups threshed at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh’s Harvest Festival event.
The threshing machine was commissioned from a UK company that usually exports machinery of this scale to Africa. Technology of the appropriate scale is an essential part of developing a fair-trade, locally-controlled short supply chain.
Everyone who contributed to the crowdfunding in 2015, including all the bakers who joined in the ‘dough-sharing’, has played a part in providing the equipment and making this happen.
Fermenting Good Ideas
Growing grain on this small scale in urban plots isn’t going to create a viable supply of flour for any community, (although it’s worth remembering that a plot of just eight by ten metres can produce enough wheat to make bread for one person for a full year).
However, even a tiny patch of wheat can change the way we think of our growing spaces and their connection with our food.
Abundant possibilities spring up when we are invited to re-imagine the way we ‘do’ bread and to formulate ideas to suit our unique, local circumstance. Possibilities such as: a community-scale micro-bakery to serve a school, a clinic or a care home; a peri-urban farm to supply freshly-milled flour to a local food network; a community to share its breadmaking skills and varied cultural traditions, creating real jobs in meaningful work as it does so; a local authority or NHS Trust to give nourishing bread a central place in its public procurement…
Organised by the Scottish Food Guide and Scotland The Bread, the Championships are made up of seven classes, open to professional or amateur bakers of any age submitting entries meeting Real Bread Campaign criteria (bread made without the use of processing aids or any other artificial additives). Loaves are judged to Gold, Silver and Bronze standard, with a Supreme and Reserve Champion also awarded.
The stunning display of bread laid out for the judges was made up of loaves of every shape, size, colour and pattern: a testament to the wonder of possibilities created by a few simple ingredients. Judges were given a workshop in fair and meaningful assessment of the categories by Andrew Whitley of Scotland The Bread and Bread Matters before breaking off into pairs for the serious business of smelling, tasting, crust-testing and ingredient-examination.
The results were the following full list of medals (bakery / loaf / category), presented on June 22:
Bread & Roses; 40% Rye with Caraway; Sourdough
Ian Pediani; Black Sesame Sourdough; Sourdough
Ian Pediani; White Sourdough; Sourdough Riddle-Me-Rye; Dalradian Sourdough; Sourdough Riddle-Me-Rye; Pain de Campagne au Rouge d’Ecosse; Sourdough Riddle-Me-Rye; Beetroot, Black Sesame & Coconut Sourdough; Sourdough
Ian Pediani; Country White; Bread from Scottish-Grown Flour
Quay Commons; French Country Sourdough Tin Loaf; Sourdough Riddle-Me-Rye; White Buttermilk Sourdough; Sourdough Woodlea Stables; Sourdough Loaf; Sourdough Baikhous; Baikhous Heritage Sourdough; Bread from Scottish-Grown Flour Luing Bakery; Scottish Country Sourdough; Bread from Scottish-Grown Flour
Ian Pediani; Dark Ale & Cheddar; Bread from Scottish-Grown Flour Baikhous; Crossmyloaf; A Traditional or Ancient Scottish Recipe Baikhous; Baikhous Bap; A Traditional or Ancient Scottish Recipe Luing Bakery; Graddan Loaf; A Traditional or Ancient Scottish Recipe Woodlea Stables; A Bread with Wheat Flour & Oats; A Traditional or Ancient Scottish Recipe Blair Atholl Watermill; Five Grain Loaf; A Bread Excelling in Nutritional Quality
Bread in the Borders; Five Grain Levain; A Bread Excelling in Nutritional Quality Woodlea Stables; Rye Sourdough Loaf; A Bread Excelling in Nutritional Quality
We were struck and encouraged by the number and range of entries baked using Scotland The Bread’s heritage flours, from tin loaves to rounded boules. Wild Hearth Bakery’s trio of loaves made with 100% of each of our three flours – Hunter’s, Golden Drop and Rouge d’Ecosse – sparked an enjoyable interlude in judging for a comparison taste test, with a noticeable difference in flavour between the three.
Congratulations to all those awarded, and a warm thank you to all of this year’s entrants: every loaf on the table contributed to this fantastic celebration of the best of Scottish breadmaking.
Scotland The Bread recently launched three own-brand flours made from historic Scottish wheats that are being registered as Conservation Varieties. The Community Benefit Society has thus far been based at Macbiehill Farmhouse (near West Linton), which is also the home of Andrew Whitley who, with STB co-founder Veronica Burke, has for some years been a prominent promoter of healthier bread produced in more sustainable and locally controlled ways.
Scotland The Bread is moving into the next chapter of its story: we are currently planning to move its main operations to the Bowhouse at Balkaskie Estatein the East Neuk of Fife. This is to allow the scaling up of flour milling and related activities and generate the operating surplus that will allow us to address the other aims of the Community Benefit Society.
Ten hectares of winter wheat and rye have been sown at Balcaskie Estate and a further nine hectares of spring varieties will bring an expected total of 50-60 tons of milling grain for the period September 2018 to August 2019.
We are therefore looking for a Miller-Manager to oversee the milling, handling and marketing of this harvest. The full job description can be found here (PDF) – please circulate it to potentially interested parties.
The role will be based at Bowhouse; see below for more information about the Estate:
The 1800 hectare Balcaskie Estate, owned by the Anstruther family, comprises a mixture of let and in-hand farms and is “committed to cultivating and caring for the natural environment, nurturing local business and supporting the vibrant community”. The wide variety of land and soil types supports an equally broad range of farming activities including potato, vegetable and cereal growing, and livestock breeding and fattening. The land on which Scotland The Bread grains are growing is organically certified and much of the Estate is undergoing organic conversion.
The Estate is a pro-active member of a number of collaborative initiatives, including Food from Fife, a non-profit organisation promoting food production and food tourism in Fife. To improve the ‘field to fork’ supply chain, the Estate has converted the Bowhouse as a collection of production units and a covered market space for producers and consumers.
After the success of 2017’s inaugural Scottish Bread Championships, this year’s expert-packed judging panel has expanded by two, bringing the expertise of cookery writer Sue Lawrence and gastronomy academic Charlotte Maberly to the sourdough-laden table. Read about all eight of the Real Bread critics here, and submit your entry by Friday May 1 (entry deadline extended) for the chance to meet them in person at the Royal Highland Show this June.
The Championships, which we co-created and run in partnership with the Scottish Food Guide, invite entries from bakers everywhere, of any age, just as long as their loaf conforms to the Real Bread Campaign’s definition, i.e bread made without the use of processing aids or any other artificial additives. There are seven classes and you can enter as many loaves in as many classes as you like.
Fred Berkmiller is Chef Patron of l’escargot bleu, l’escargot blanc and Bar à Vin in Edinburgh. Both l’escargot restaurants have been awarded AA rosettes, have won Newcomer of the Year in The List’s Eating and Drinking Guide, featured in the annual Michelin Guide and have been named among Pete Irvine’s top five restaurants in Scotland. Fred himself was awarded The Scotsman’s Food Pioneer title at the Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards 2016, was a CIS Chef of the Year 2016 finalist, and is a Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance member. His commitment to artisanal, low-waste practices is demonstrated throughout his menus, in his kitchens and in his tireless promotion of sustainable Scottish food.
Why did you want to be involved in the Scottish Bread Championships?
‘The Scottish food and drink industry has gone from strength to strength over the past few years, diversifying from the traditional whisky and seafood to incorporate much more into its larder, establishing it as a land of food and drink. Bread is a much-loved addition to any hearty Scottish dish, so it’s great to be able to celebrate all of our skilled bakers with this competition and give them the recognition they deserve.
‘I’m thrilled to be a judge for the Scottish Bread Championships. Nothing beats a freshly baked loaf, so I’m excited to see what the participants bring to the table.’
Inver Restaurant may only have opened in 2015, but chef and co-owner Pam now heads up one of Scotland and the UK’s most respected kitchens. With time at Noma on her CV, a Scandinavian approach to seasonality and localism infuses the restaurant’s menu and beyond: sourdough bread, pickles, ice cream, ferments, pasta and charcuterie are all made in house. Butter is churned, carcasses are butchered. Set on the shores of Loch Fyne, Inver was named AA Scottish Restaurant of the Year 2016, and Scotland & Northern Ireland regional winner in The Sunday Times top 100 restaurants 2017.
Gerry is the founder and director of Artisan Food Law, an online resource to help artisan and small-scale independent food businesses navigate the complexities of food law. Gerry’s support, advocacy and guidance has been informed by more than 22 years working as a lawyer in the public sector, including 10 years as chief legal officer of one of the largest metropolitan authorities in England. His work is underpinned by a belief that our approach to food must be informed by a ‘from farm to plate’ understanding, and a recognition that a sustainable food system does not, and cannot, exist in a factory. The man to whom food experts turn for legal guidance was a director of Slow Food International and chair of Slow Food UK with whom he continues to work. Gerry also teaches food law to post-graduate masters degree students – and anyone else interested.
Why did you want to be involved in the Scottish Bread Championships? ‘Good nutritious bread is fundamental to our diet and the fact we all do not have ready access to it is a source of sadness. I am an ardent supporter of the Real Bread Campaign so can see the Scottish Bread Championships will put real bread on the map, provide an opportunity to celebrate all the truly great bakers out there who make a real difference and recognise the best. All provide us with real bread, real pleasure and a better diet.’
Chef/director of Edinburgh’s Cafe St Honoré, Neil is known for his commitment to sustainable, seasonal Scottish ingredients, and for his kitchen’s daily sourdough. Neil is a co-presenter on BBC Radio Scotland’s weekly Kitchen Café programme, writes a monthly recipe column for The Scotsman magazine, and has become one of Scotland’s most recognizable chefs after featuring on a number of TV and radio shows promoting the best of Scottish produce. He was named CIS Chef of the Year 2014; the Scottish Restaurant Award’s Scottish Chef of the Year 2011, and is an active Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance member.
Why did you want to be involved in the Scottish Bread Championships?
‘I’m delighted to judge the Scottish Bread Championships. At Cafe St Honoré we bake fresh bread every day, and I encourage others to do the same. It’s astonishing to think that bread is basically flour, water, salt and time! Bread has been such an important part of our diets for centuries so it’s wonderful to see so many new artisan bakeries opening and a return to real bread making.
‘I’m very much looking forward to tasting some classic loaves. I’ll be looking for good textures, crumbs, crusts and hopefully some new ideas too. It’s going to be an exciting day!’
After winning fame on the BBC’s MasterChef in 1991, Sue has forged a career as one of the UK’s leading cookery writers. She writes a regular column for Scotland on Sunday, wrote for the Sunday Times for six years and regularly contributes to Sainsbury’s Magazine, Woman & Home, Country Living and BBC Good Food Magazine. A regular face on British and Australian television, until 2011 she was one of the food experts on STV’s The Hour. Raised in Dundee, she now lives in Edinburgh.
Why did you want to be involved in the Scottish Bread Championships?
‘Three of my 18 cookery books are solely about baking and obviously bread features. I love everything about good bread: the feel of the dough, the smell as it bakes and of course the taste. There are so many passionate home bakers and also artisan bakers now in Scotland and I feel very proud to be part of the Championships.’
Charlotte Maberly is lecturer for and co-creator of the Queen Margaret University MSc Gastronomy – the UK’s first interdisciplinary study of food, aiming to change the way we think about what and how we eat, and where it comes from.
Charlotte’s love of food has led her around the world exploring food cultures, learning about the complexities of our global food system, teaching urban agriculture, and working for the US’ only organic farmland trust. She obtained her master’s degree at the University of Gastronomic Sciences (UniSG) in Italy and then returned to Scotland motivated to bring a global perspective to local food education.
In April 2016, along with members of UniSG and the QMU Gastronomy team, Charlotte organised the UK’s first Gastronomy symposium – Scotland’s FoodScape. The event explored the significance of food in Scotland and involved producers, policy makers, artists, eaters & academics from around the world.
She also runs her own company – Food Connects – which seeks to bring innovative food education to individuals, businesses and organisations in the UK and abroad, via workshops, training and food experiences.
Why did you want to be involved in the Scottish Bread Championships?
‘I’m looking forward to being involved in the Scottish Bread Championships because there are exciting changes currently occurring regarding skills and approach to bread baking in Scotland. There is a palpable shift towards valuing real craft and provenance, which I feel also represents a growing movement across other areas of the food sector. It’s a really positive sign and it’s great to celebrate this with events like the Scottish Bread Championships.’
Jennie is a Professor of Sustainable Nutrition and Health at The Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen. Through her research she works to advance understanding of dietary behaviours and how to improve what we eat to achieve health and environmentally sustainable diets. Jennie’s current research focuses on issues of food security, exploring the environmental, social and nutritional implications of dietary choices and how to balance these. Previous research includes community based nutrition and obesity related policies and interventions. Jennie is a member of the Daniel & Nicole Carasso Foundation International Scientific Committee, the BBSRC Global Food Security Scientific Advisory Group and has contributed to reports for the Scottish Government, Food Standards Scotland and WWF-UK.
Why did you want to be involved in the Scottish Bread Championships? ‘Bread is an important food that can contributes to a healthy and sustainable diet, as well as being a great, tasty food to eat. I believe that the Scottish Bread Championships provides an excellent opportunity to showcase some of the best quality breads that are being produced and enjoyed in Scotland.’
Chris has been Real Bread Campaign coordinator since 2009, campaigning for recognition of the value and definition of Real Bread; championing local, independent bakeries that make additive-free loaves, and encouraging people to bake their own Real Bread at home. Chris co-wrote Knead to Know, an introductory guide to success in baking Real Bread for local community, and curated and contributed to the recipe collection Slow Dough: Real Bread. He is also editor of London Food Link’s ethical eating magazine The Jellied Eel, published by the charity Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming.
Why did you want to be involved in the Scottish Bread Championships? ‘It’s great to be involved in what I’m pretty sure is the first ever national competition dedicated to celebrating Real Bread and the bakers who make it.’
The turn out was impressive, so chances are you already know all about the first Crossmyloof Bread Festival, held on April 21st on the site of the former Crossmyloof Bakery in Glasgow.
‘Bread and roses’ was the theme of the day, alluding to the political slogan: ‘The worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too’. This appeal for fair wages and dignified conditions was the bedrock of Crossmyloof Bakery, founded in 1847 by philanthropist Neale Thomson. Its remit was toproduce good quality, affordable bread for his workforce and the people of Glasgow, and this slogan encapsulates the lengths to which he went to reform the working conditions of journeyman bakers in the middle of the 19th century.
Top quality, affordable bread for all is, of course, a priority at the top of our list as well, so we enthusiastically accepted an invitation to talk about Scotland The Bread’s work. Charlie Hanks – Scotland The Bread Member, Soil to Slice participant and experienced Breadshare baker – regaled the crowd on Scotland The Bread’s behalf, accompanied by some stunning sample loaves made from our heritage flour by Baikhous.
Besides a number of stalls selling some of the best baking available in Scotland, there were free sourdough-making demonstrations throughout the day from Baikhous, with starter kits available to allow visitors to get started at home.
The festival site was just behind The Glad Cafe, who played a big part in curating and organising the festival. A music venue and creative hub as well as cafe, they hosted music throughout the day and evening.
The festival launched a number of Heritage Lottery funded activities to highlight Neale Thomson’s philanthropic work in the 1840s and 50s. These will take place throughout the summer and will involve tours for adults and primary school children as well as a number of educational resources: website, map, school worksheets.
To celebrate the start of Real Bread Week (February 24 – March 4), a number of our Soil to Slice groups gathered on Sunday 25 February at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh’s Botanic Cottage to talk yields, baking inspiration, milling and new season sowing.
Hosted in partnership with the BigPicnic, both initiatives have at their heart a concern for food security: Soil to Slice projects are essential demonstrations of the impact of small-scale planting. On their own they couldn’t feed Scotland, but if just a sixth of the land currently devoted for wheat growing was used for bread wheat, Scotland’s organic flour supply would be secure. These plots are also hugely engaging for a public now almost entirely divorced from the production of one of our staple dietary ingredients, as these testimonies show.
A number of common themes arose from the groups’ presentations, from practical issues concerned with late planting and ideal grain storage conditions, to questions and suggestions over public engagement and ensuring the plots were effectively signposted.
Tom Kirby, Granton Community Gardeners: ‘This project is slow motion community theatre that changes the way people think about the land. Walking down the street with bundles of straw, cars slow down as they pass us; people stop to ask what we’re doing.’
GCG’s first year’s yield in 2016 was the equivalent of 4.2 tonnes/hectare – a very good organic showing.
As well as the valuable flour, they have had lots of demand for the wheat straw. Commercially-grown wheat has very short straw which is, in any case, mangled in the combine harvester (and sometimes simply chopped and left on the ground), so getting hold of long straight stalks for making beehives and baskets is hard. A circular economy is growing up: lend a hand with growing the wheat in return for some straw.
GCG are currently waiting for a new, larger wheat plot to become available, hopefully in time to sow spring wheat.
Suggestions arose for skills sharing and future activities: a scything workshop for Soil to Slice participants with demonstration for the general public; sharing the bicycle-powered mill that GCG successfully used with their first harvest; shared baking sessions, equipment and potentially storage facilities; school engagement on the citizen science side of the projects.
Andy Crofts, the Edible Gardening Project and the BigPicnic: ‘We get a huge number of visitors to our site at the RBGE, so plan to focus on the more experimental grains such as emmer, spelt and old oat varieties, buying in the three Scotland The Bread flour varieties for our baking. In 2017 we grew the seeds we saved from our first crop of Swedish white and brown, as well as emmer, spelt and barley. People loved the threshing day: one of the major positives of Soil to Slice is that it has been really good for engaging the public.’
Andrew Whitley, co-founder of Scotland The Bread, covered some of the benefits of Soil to Slice’s return to traditional landraces, as well as organic and low-intensity growing methods: increased nutritional value of the resulting flour, as well as the potential for addressing the modern rise in intolerance to gluten. A selective, evolutionary breeding approach can address the loss of diversity in modern bread and farming: diversity as a broad concept, for the grain gene, as well as beneficial diversity in the bacterial qualities of the soil and the human. This can be summed up by a line from a talk Andrew gave in September 2016, Rediscovering Wheat Diversity for the Public Good: ‘A new approach is desperately needed, one which has human health as its goal, harmony with the biosphere as its operating principle and equity as its moral compass.’
The Cyrenians’ Soil to Slice plots can be found at the Royal Edinburgh Community Gardens, in the grounds of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. After hearing about the project at the ‘Power of Food Festival’ AGM, delegates visited Macbiehill Agroforestry and quickly became very engaged. They grew their first wheat in the 2016-17 season and are just beginning to bake with the milled flour: an outdoor cob oven is very popular at these events, and has been used to bake sourdough loaves that individuals have made and proven at home, as well as cheese scones and sourdough pizza made with Scotland The Bread Rouge d’Ecosse wheat.
The Royal Edinburgh is a psychiatric hospital, and around the core team of Soil to Slice volunteers are a number of people coming to the project at transition points in their lives. The gathering heard of the difference the project has made to patients, even prompting engagement with long-term patients for whom interaction is particularly difficult. The sight of a traditional winnowing basket in use sparked a rare discussion with one patient, enabling a personal conversation to take place at a critical point. The garden is even becoming part of a cure for those who can’t make it outside: the team are increasingly making visits to wards within the hospital, with the long wheat straw an interesting jump-off point for discussion and crafts.
‘We were all very surprised at how tall the wheat was. Most of us engaged with the project are very new to horticulture, so to see wheat up close is quite a thing.’ Rachel Helms
Andrew gave a number of tips for using these heritage flours in baking: the key is to step away from the modern picture of a tall, uniform loaf and embrace liberated dough! Think ciabatta, baguettes, flatbreads, pizza and beautiful rounded loaves. Read more advice and find some tried-and-tested recipes here.
The newest group to join Soil to Slice is Friends of Granton Castle Walled Garden, who are about to sow Hunter’s and Rouge d’Ecosse wheats in their medieval walled garden. Having successfully campaigned for this slice of history to be saved from development, the volunteers at FGCWG are set to start work preserving horticultural heritage this season. Founder Kirsty Sutherland has previously grown Scotland The Bread’s historic wheats at Pilton Community Garden, and the plots will be an engaging talking point on the Friends’ ‘hidden gem’ monthly tours.
Gorgie City Farm sent an update in their absence, detailing six events based around their Soil to Slice project. These ranged from a community sowing event to drop-in sessions for pre-schoolers based on Julia Donaldson’s The Scarecrows’ Wedding, in which the children dressed scarecrows made at a previous event and harvested wheat. Thirteen harvest workshops saw 158 primary-aged school pupils help to harvest and mill wheat and make flatbreads; 35 nursery age pupils attended workshops focusing on the story of the Little Red Hen, in which they harvested wheat and milled it into flour; and a ‘Fork to Fork’ harvesting and cooking session was hosted for eight City Farm volunteers with special needs – the group harvested food and wheat from the garden, and cooked and ate a meal together.
We are enjoying being kept busy at Macbiehill Farmhouse milling Scotland The Bread’s heritage flours – more than three quarters of a ton, as of January 2018. In November we launched three varieties of flour from wheat landraces that were common in Scotland in the 19th century – Rouge d’Ecosse, Golden Drop and Hunter’s.
We are somewhat overwhelmed by the feedback we’ve been receiving: images of handsome loaves accompanied by tasting notes that show we are not biased after all. One customer wrote with the following story:
‘My wife and her brother, as children in Ayrshire, always looked forward to visiting an old boy in Kilbirnie because his scones were unsurpassed for flavour. Up to today [>50 years] she has never tasted anything to compare. But today ….. even with my limited baking skills … the flavour of the girdle scones with Hunter flour took her right back to those days in Kilbirnie. In all these years she had never tasted anything to compare with your Hunter’s flour. It really impacted on her … and she is away to tell her brother!
‘Now all my project trainees will be able to experience real bread with all its health benefits.’
We sent samples to some of our most trusted artisanal bakers, and have collated the first of their feedback here, including tips and tasting notes. We welcome your feedback, questions and comments: do send them over.
A new way of milling
This flour has been milled for maximum nutrient retention on an innovative ‘cyclone’ mill called a Zentrofan. It’s a slow, small-scale process that reduces the grain to fine particles without either heating it up by excessive abrasion (as can happen with stone milling) or stripping it of its vital nutrients (which is the main effect of producing white flour on industrial roller mills). There is more detail about the mill and how it works here.
Heritage grain for modern problems
These heritage wheats are more than a historical curiosity. Their superior nutritional profile and their suitability for agro-ecological farming make them a good starting point in our quest to select and develop bread grains that grow well in Scottish soils and can nourish healthy citizens while providing local farmers with a fair and reliable return.
We have to thank Andy Forbes of Brockwell Bake Association in London for scouring gene banks round the world for tiny samples (typically 10 grams or less) of ‘accessions’ bearing the name of Rouge d’Ecosse. He also identified Golden Drop and Hunter’s as plausible ‘Scottish’ heritage grains.
Find more information about our three heritage wheats on our website here.
Baking with heritage flour
This flour is special. Apart from its above-average mineral content, it has:
a full, satisfying flavour without the dry dustiness of some wholemeals
gluten that is naturally softer, less stretchy and more extensible (and arguably more digestible) than in common breadmaking flours
Top tips for getting good results:
Knead the dough gently and for less time than you have to when using a ‘strong’ flour
Be patient and ferment your bread slowly (using sourdough) to develop flavour and digestibility
If you’re struggling to get a longed-for lightness, sieve the flour to remove some of the bran or add a portion (up to 25%) of a ‘strong’ flour
You will find more baking advice and recipes here, including:
some quick tips to get you started with the flour
general words about the character of Scottish heritage flour and how to adjust your baking to get the best from it